Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Christmas In July & My Least Favorite Saying

No way! So I was just listening to Sufjan Stevens' Christmas album, (yes, I'm listening to Christmas music in July... I just had a hankering to hear Lo, How A Rose E'er Blooming), and I heard the craziest thing ever!!! My least favorite saying ever, in the whole wide world, "Did I make you cry?" is actually a Christmas song!!!!!

No way! Sacrilege! Catastrophe!!! Curses!!

First, I want to know who else in the whole entire world would have the audacity to ask such a wretched question, as "Did I make you cry?" That question was put to me once, by someone I love, when in fact he had made me cry, and the tone in which it was asked was not one of remorse or concern, as much as gleeful sarcasm. URGH!!! Yes, as a matter of fact, you did make me cry. Does that make you happy? (I actually asked him "does that make you happy" right back, to which I got NO answer). Turd, thy name is man!

Anyways, I'm sure you can imagine my surprise, as one minute I'm singing along to O Come, O Come Emmanuel, and the next minute Sufjan is asking "Did I make you cry on Christmas Day?" To be exact, the song goes:

I stay awake at night
After we have a fight
I'm writing poems about you
And they aren't very nice...

...Did I make you cry On Christmas day?
Did I make you cry
Like every other day?
Did I make you cry
On Christmas day?
Did I make you cry?

Why, oh why, in the history of man and woman, would you ask such a question? Men, listen to me, listen now, never, I mean NEVER, ask a woman that question. Or maybe you like 4 inch stiletto heels embedded in your shins, in which case, ask away oh Sufjan, and other insufferable males. Check out the picture that was with Sufjan's Christmas album... he doesn't look too happy does he? But check out his wife... she looks pretty happy. Pain, the reason is pain. She has her fingernails dug deep into his shoulders in that picture, and I think I know the reason why!

Seriously, a woman's tears are nothing to be taken lightly. To incorrectly and unabashedly quote the Bible, here, God collects our tears, in a little jar. And I'm sure that the ones that have been shed because of unrequited love are especially precious to Him. And I wouldn't mess with God. I'm pretty sure He doesn't like that question, so if you're smart, just don't go there. Ok?

The answer, by the way, is "No, I will never shed another tear for you, ever again. And especially not on Christmas Day!" Blast you for even asking!

Check Out My New Poll, On The Sidebar!

I'm a bit geeked... I put up a poll. It asks the life altering question:

If you could be any Muppet, who would you be?

I think I've got the heart and general sentimentality of Fozzie the Bear, the random eclecticness and klutziness of Gonzo, and the girly high maintenance of Miss Piggy (minus the voice like a buzz saw in my ear).

Your turn. Answer the poll??

Monday, July 30, 2007

Joy Divine & Eternal

In all the world, I have no more favorite piece of music than the Ode To Joy, taken from Beethoven's 9th Symphony. Today as I was listening to it, and wondering what these loud, robust German voices could be proclaiming, I remembered an article from The Moral Compass, about Beethoven's last days, and the writing of this symphony.

That article ascribed to Beethoven an exemplary faith of one facing his last days, where he says "...Indeed, a hard lot has fallen upon me! But I resign myself to the will of destiny, and only ask God constantly to grant through His divine will that, so long as I must still suffer death in life here, I am protected from penury. This will give me the strength to bear my lot, however hard and grievous, with resignation to the will of the Almighty". Sounds pretty faithful to me. It was based on this quote, as well as my love for the Ode To Joy, that I decided to look up it's lyrics today, and got a big fat shock.

Beethoven was deaf, from his early twenties on and upon the diagnosis of this malady, he went through a period of suicidal tendencies. He was also thought to be bipolar. His childhood was troubled, as the son of an alcoholic father, who's mother and siblings died early on from tuberculosis and who was forced to raise his two younger brothers. Yet that never stopped the amazing work that this freelance musician composed. In addition to writing some of history's most notable works, he was also a skilled pianist, who began performing as a child and was declared by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart to be a musician who would "astonish the entire world".

What I find most fascinating about Ludwig van Beethoven, however, was his religious beliefs (huge surprise, I know). Some think that Beethoven was a Freemason, but others have called him an atheist, as well as a Deist in the fashion of Goethe. Upon a closer look into both his statements and the themes of his music, it seems to me that Beethoven was at best, a Deist (though in direct contradiction to his words above about the will of the Almighty), if not a Pantheist. The guy's music rocked, but his faith was not so rock solid.

A close look at the words sung in the Ode To Joy show that the song is about the "brotherhood of man" and though references are made to God being worshipped in the heavens, by the cherubs, never once is man shown to give God such regard, but instead man's role in this ode is to turn to one another for solace and peace and joy, and then to the wine poured by the pagan god Elysium.

This theme is repeated throughout as is this sentiment, "Joy, beautiful spark of the gods, daughter of Elysium, we enter fire imbibed, heavenly, thy sanctuary. Thy magic reunites those whom stern custom has parted; all men will become brothers under thy gentle wing."

What the ?*%$??? Talk about disappointed. Here in my head, I had always idealized this dramatic and moving piece of work as being a hymn to the Lord, praising His attributes amongst creation, much like Francis Of Assisi's "All Creatures Of Our God and King" (probably in my top 5 favorite hymns of all times). Sigh! Well, we all know what happens when you assume...

Man was clearly created to worship and praise the Sovereign, Almighty Father, through the merits of the Son, and with the aid of the Spirit. Yet, as I searched for more lyrics of Beethoven's, never once was this alluded to, much less written about. All I can do is hope that the last words of this famous composer, "Not yet! I need more time!", which were accompanied by a shaking face aimed at stormy skies, were in response to a call to salvation rather than any unfinished business, musical or otherwise, here on earth. Till the day, in heaven, when I can worship with songs never before heard, and of such great worth and talent, that they are only divine, I think I will continue to delude myself by ignoring the meaning behind Beethoven's works and add my own words of praise, eternal and divine to their beautiful sounds.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Pool Of Death

No, I'm not talking about the communicable disease buffet that is most waterparks....

I'm talking about bamboo. I bought a bamboo this week. Well, Home Depot has so many of their plants on sale, and how could I resist? It's pretty cute, and a little twisted (hehehe, like me!). So I say someone should start a pool to see how long I can keep it alive.

My own guess is one month. Any takers?

Gettin' Ready For The Move

So, guess where I'm sitting right now? In my new chair - an overstuffed one at that. I have my feet up on the ottoman, but there isn't much room between the top of my legs and the bottom of the desk. See, I'm also sitting here using my new computer.

Wow, I'm blessed. So today, for FREE, I got a new computer (well, it's new to me, and only a year old really), an overstuffed chair (reeaally nice, big enough for two people squishy style, and it's going to be THE chair for Sunday afternoon naps, I can tell you that right now), the matching ottoman and a microwave. I friggin' love Craigslist!

I'll post pics later, cuz after moving around all this stuff, I'm pooped and ready for bed. The only bummer is that all this stuff is moved into the old place, and in a month's time I'll have to move it into the new place. At least it isn't very far.

Friday, July 27, 2007

If You Can't Say Something Nice....

....Well, we all know how that old adage goes. Thumper, the cutest rabbit to ever live thankyouverymuch, said it best. "Mama says, if you can't say something nice, don't say nothin' at all"

So, in all honesty, if I haven't posted lately, it's not for lack of anything to say. It's for lack of anything nice to say. In between roommate drama, feeling a bit friendless and alone lately, questioning my own stubbornness in wanting to become a pastry chef, missing an old friend that I used to love, my recent diagnosis (and frustrations) with Celiac's Disease, and more roommate drama, I've just not been a very cheerful me.

I came to that realization last night when I was having dinner with my best friend, and I could sense her losing patience, albeit nicely, with me. She didn't have to say anything, I could just tell that my cynicism wasn't anything she wanted to hear. So I did my best to shut up.

And so, I haven't posted this week. And I might not post this coming week too. I have written tons, trust me, but then when I proofread them, I realize that nothing I have to say is encouraging or upbuilding or anything I want associated with my name a month from now, so I delete the posts. I might not have much to say, but at least I'm not saying anything I'll regret.

And that's all I have to say about that! For now.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Tempted, But I Won't Give In

Unlike millions of other geeks who dressed in wizard robes with fake owls glued to their shoulders and stood in five-hour long lines, I waited till the day after to get the new Harry Potter book. That doesn't cancel out the fact, however, that as soon as I got off my shift this afternoon I beelined for Target, and made straight for the "literary" section (chick lit, brain candy abundance, spare me), barely stopped at the end of the aisle display to pick up the book, pivot-stepped to the shortest line and was reading it by the next stoplight. Yes, in the car, at the stoplight.

It was there, on Hiawatha and Lake, that I did what I always do with a new book. Urrrrrrrr...screeeeeech!!! No, I didn't cause an accident. I did the vastly unthinkable. I turned to the last page and began reading.

Wait a minute. Hold up a sec. This is the book that half the literate world has been waiting for, and that the author and publishers have implored major metropolitan newspapers to keep mum on. I can't read the last page. I don't care if I do do that for every book. (I'm not quite into the fourth chapter of Matthew Pearl's The Poe Shadow, but I know that Edgar Allen Poe was involved in some pretty heavy stuff there in Paris.) People have lost their jobs over leaking the end of this series (that guy with the blog), and yet, as nonchalantly as other car habits (singing, checking my teeth, scrutinizing my hair), here I was reading the end of this great mystery.

Unthinkable!! You have to understand though - I hate surprises. In life, books, movies, love, you name it. I am not a surprise kind of girl! (Just a word of warning, surprise parties are a surefire way to incur massive embarrassment and slight irritation. I know, I know, it's the thought behind it, and all. But really, I would much rather be able to control some element of a situation, or at least believe that I do.) Anyways, back to Harry Potter. I had to ask myself, there at that stoplight, as the book covers came smashing together on my finger, whether or not it was worth the o.c.d. habit, to read the end?

I decided, there and then. At 759 pages, this is going to be a long wait, but I think I can manage it. Wait, who am I kidding? This is going to take every ounce of self control I have!

Friday, July 20, 2007

A Brief Update, Really Not Terribly Interesting

I have to laugh, because a few years ago, when I first met Peggy Johnson, I had to try to convince her I wasn't all crafty/homey. She just thought she knew that I was a Martha (Stewart that is). These days, as I think of refinishing my new bathroom, all I can hope is that she'll offer some advice, or at least a few pointers, on the linoleum, caulking, paint, etc. She's the Martha Stewart, and I'm hoping she lets me ask her ten million questions as I get to work on the new place.

I wish I was a Martha Stewart. I'm so not and for once, I really wish I was. I have my work cut out for me in the new place, and I need vision, style, talent.

I have finally decided on some paint colors, at least. I'm leaving the adorable green in the kitchen, and have decided to leave the Tobacco color of the living room as well. I'd really like to accent it though with like, a Tiffany's blue. Come on, who doesn't love Tiffanys? The bathroom is going to be a pretty color called Peach Bud, a light blush color that should shed some light in there. And the bedroom, egads!! Right now it is bright periwinkle blue. Excuse me while I go spit out the barf that came up just now. It's new color will soon be Ruby Ring. Although, I'm worried that red walls, red sheets, red lamps, will it be too red? Should I think of doing a different color? But I like red. It's so warm. Hmmm.... the verdict is still out on the bedroom.

Ok, speaking of lamps, I FELL IN LOVE with some lamps at Pier 1 tonight. Y'all would be so proud of me. I went to Marshalls, TJ Maxx, Home Goods and Pier 1, and I only spent $8. On picture frames, of which I'm convinced you can't have too many. Eight dollars. I did so good. Pier 1 had some amazing deals though, and I was soooo tempted!! I especially fell in love with these adorable lamps. They're still a tad out of my price range, but by next week, well who knows? Anyways, till I know exactly what I want, I'm not going to spend money needlessly.

So, coming home tonight, I thought, I could use some inspiration. So to get in the Asian mood that I hope will gently permeate my new abode I ordered my favorite Mandarin Beef with gluten-dork friendly white rice and am watching a great Kurosawa masterpiece, Rashomon. Nothing says "get ready to decorate" like Samurai films!!

Seriously though, this is a classic. It has even defined a psychological phenomenon, when people can't discern truth, from conflicting accounts of the same event. IMDB gives this synopsis:

"The film depicts a rape and murder through the widely differing accounts of four witnesses, including the perpetrator and, through a medium, the murder victim. The story unfolds in flashback as the four characters—the bandit Taj┼Źmaru, the murdered samurai Kanazawa-no-Takehiro, his wife Masago, and the nameless Woodcutter recount the events of one afternoon in a grove. But it is also a flashback within a flashback, because the accounts of the witnesses are being retold by a woodcutter and a priest to a ribald commoner as they wait out a rainstorm in a ruined GateHouse. Each story is mutually contradictory, leaving the viewer unable to determine the truth of the events."

In any case, I have seen it once before, and it is a lot to follow, so I thought I'd try it again tonight. And, I was hoping to find some good black and white stills of the samurai and his wife, for framing in the living room. Sweet!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

The Man Curse

Ok, here's the other thing, I mean besides my recent trips to Home Depot bringing me great joy & mirth (keep reading, you'll get there)....

I am a mental case today when it comes to guys. I talked to the non-chivalrous ex today, and we putzed around verbally, as I tried to get up the courage to tell him once and for all that I don't even want to be friends. Mission so not accomplished.

The thing is, he's a nice guy, and sometimes he can really turn it on But other times, well, other times he's just not such a nice guy to me. Did I mention, in my post earlier (uh huh, keep reading, you'll get there), that he made this comment the other night about how the only girls who ever wanted to date him have horribly low self esteem. I just looked at him. Looked. For a long time. He didn't get it. Urgh!!!

And the other thing is this, I had a horrible dream last night. A nightmare, that woke me up sweating, angry and scared. I dreamt the guy I've been in love with for the last three years (yeah, not Mr. Knight above, not even close!) came home to a family reunion between our two families (as likely as flying pigs bringing me $5 million in a Louis Vuitton bag), and he was MARRIED! I mean, I have reconciled myself to the fact that since he thinks we're just friends, that some day he really will come home married to someone else. But in the dream, he was married to some white trash, bus station skank with a kid. An ugly kid with Kool Aid stains around it's mouth and dirty clothes no less. And her, with her overly bleached hair and pallid skin and Wal-Mart knit dress, really she wasn't winning any prizes in the anything department. URGHURGHURGHURGHURGH!!! He was all playing with the kid, as DimWit sat in the corner not talking to anybody. And he had married her. HER!! I woke up so angry, at like 3 in the morning, just angry, swearing that if it was the last thing I do, I need to get over him.

Seriously though, this dream like, ruined my morning. I woke up and I had a craving for rusty nails with a side of Beastie Boys for breakfast. I didn't even crack any jokes in the kitchen at work, and the girls were left without mirth and dork dancing. All because of the thought that he could end up with someone, well someone lesser than me.

Now, like I said, I know the day will come when he will fall in love with someone other than me, and marry her. I've always pictured that woman as head & shoulders above me. And, I kind of thought, too, based on the little twits he's expressed attraction to, that he would pick some hot little blonde Britney Spears lookalike (wait, Britney Spears...white trash...I'm making a connection!) I mean, if it were character or personality he was after, he has someone who's been in love with him for three years right here. I'm ready to love him with all my heart.

But I've figured, since we're just friends, that it must be a lack of attraction thing. And I can deal with that. I mean, like Popeye said, "I yam what I yam". I'm dark & swarthy & chubby, kind of a like a cross between Jack Black and Captain Jack Sparrow (come on, I know you can picture it). But heck, I like me. I've got great hair, and I tan fairly well, and even Mr. "Chivalrous" says I have a great smile (though, can he really be trusted?). Anyways, I like who I am, and someday so will someone else.

But today, it wasn't the man of my dreams (literally), and it definitely isn't Mr. Manners either. What the heck? Am I man cursed? Stay away friends, I'm contagious.... I've got the man curse! I swear!

Adventures In Wonderland aka You Can Do It, We Can Help

So tonight, I made the trip. To Home Depot. I spent, like two hours in there, just wandering the aisles like a lost sojourner, searching for the way home, ur, that is to the check out line.

I was good, I only bought a magazine (Oprah at Home) and a few plants (two orchids and two bamboo). But what I gained cannot be measured in monetary fashion. Who could measure knowledge? Who could confine wisdom? Muahahahah!! Muahahaha!!!

I just have to say, I am so excited to move into the new place. But even more exciting than moving in is getting it ready to be moved into. I am going to paint the kitchen cupboards, and see if Jon will help me refinish the hardwood floors (since he's such a pro at it). And I'm painting the bathroom, and the bedroom, and the living room. Pretty much the only walls that will remain untouched by my color driven hands are the kitchen ones, but we already know that I adore their shade of Kelly Green. Yeehaw!!

Also exciting tonight, I went to Kramurczuks and got "sassage". Andouille and Polish, and tomorrow a Jambalaya will go in the crock pot to feed my newly gluten intolerant self.

Ok, I have a confession - I don't believe in Karma, but if I did, it'd be a bitch right about now. See, I recently found out I'm gluten intolerant. Yep, that's right, a baker who can't eat wheat. Look at me laugh, see. I'm laughing.

So what does this have to do with Karma. Well, an acquaintance of mine used to be allergic to like, everything, and I used to make fun of him mercilessly. Seriously, the first time I met this friend of a friend was at a Thanksgiving dinner where I had done all the cooking. All twelve courses of it. There were brussell sprouts with bacon and chestnuts, two kinds of stuffing, an infused & brined bird worthy of the pages of Martha Stewart, two kinds of pies, mashed potatoes that would make you cry, from scratch gravy, the list goes on. And this poor guy couldn't eat any of it. At first I felt sorry for him, but then he got on my nerves a little bit and inside, I admit, I was making fun of him.

Fast forward 5 years - I am lactose intolerant. I can't eat cheese, ice cream, milk, sour cream, cream cheese, cheesecake, cheese curds, grilled cheese. I am gluten intolerant. I can't eat pizza, pasta, bread, pancakes, soy sauce, waffles, muffins, croissants, cakes, you name it, if I can bake it, I can't eat it.

I kind of deserve it though. Maybe. For making fun of him. But I'm sorry, I really am. I know now what a pain in the butt this is, and I'm sorry. I just want my gluten back! I do!!

Well, I guess all that money I save on frozen pizzas and Bertollis 10 minute pasta dishes I can put towards home repairs & remodeling. Really, who needs bread when the food I will nourish my body onwith will be the labor of my hands as I transform my new apartment into a sanctuary of warmth and style. Muahahaha!!! Muahahahaha!!!!

Monday, July 16, 2007

A Lesson In Chivalry

So, I don't really do the helpless female thing very well. Some friends I know have it down to a science. CoughcoughKatrinacoughcough. (Don't worry, I love you just the same!).

It seems to me, though, that guys love that sort of thing. They just eat it up, since they feel so important when us women need their help. I just have never been able to pull it off with any sense of credibility or sincerity. Really, most of the time, for the stuff that people see, I'm really not that helpless. I've pretty much been on my own & independent since I was 16, so I've had to learn to fend for myself, and independence can really put a damper on coy flirting.

Whenever I have felt helpless, and truly desirous of a man's help, well there tend to be none around, and I end up, out of force of necessity having to change that tire/move that treadmilll/fix that cable/push that car all on my own. It's not that I don't want the help - I want it so very much. It's just that, well I'm convinced guys never think I need it, and so it's never really offered.

But last night, I had a moment of true female helplessness. Hallelujah, it was like Haley's Comet, coming around only once every 80 years!

So I was over at a friend's house. Said friend who, in an earlier post, was indicted for dumping me quite unscrupulously. All is forgiven though, and we've gone on to hang out, as friends, with enough of a moderate amount of attraction to at least keep things lively & entertaining, if not enough to actually date each other.

In any case, I had gone over a bit late, and was pretty tired from being at church and with friends all day. The glass of whisky he poured me didn't really do much to wake me up either. So, we hung around, having a nice evening, and then around 1:30, when he dropped a (not so) subtle hint, I got up to leave. I gathered my purse, and put on my adorable patent leather sling backs, and walked myself (dealbreaker #1) to the car. As I was walking out, I tripped on a rock, twisted my left ankle, landed hard on my right knee, spilled my purse out all over the pavement and pretty much flashed the entire empty parking area a lot of leg. As I sat there, humiliated, frustrated, tired and did I say frustrated, I started to cry. My knee hurt, and I could tell, even in the dark, that it was bleeding.

So, what did I do? Did I go home, knee bleeding, achy, crying and irritated, as I should have? As any independent, self respecting girl would have? No, in a brief fit of female helplessness, a real cry for chivalry and help, I hobbled back to his apartment, knocked lightly, and then stared up at him like a puppy dog when he answered the door. As he stood there, in his pajamas, I managed to quietly sob out "I fell, and I skinned my knee. Can I come in and wash it off?"

Now here's where the scenario starts to play out a little differently in my head. In the Bizzaro world of opposites, where everything is backwards, he actually would have been a hero. A real knight in shining armor. And he would've helped me. He would have led me to a chair, and went & got a wet towel, and knelt down and gently wiped off my knee for me, asking me if I was ok.

But in the real world, in a universe where, I'm convinced, real manners are a thing of the past, and only previous generations of men knew how to treat women as they desire, well things went a lot differently, and quickly downhill at that. He just stared at me, as I stood in the doorway, and then after a moment said "Yeah, come in. You can use the main bathroom". So I limped up the hallway, to the main bathroom, and sat, as gracefully as possible on the sink counter. Then I unraveled a bit of TP, and ran it under the faucet, and began to wipe at my knee as gently as I could, all the while with an audience. An audience that just watched me, and then, in a really not so smooth move, blurted out "Well, that's what happens when you wear dresses and heels all the time".

Really? Really, that's what you say to a wounded female, sitting bleeding in your bathroom? You insult her sense of style and femininity, as she's bleeding from a major joint? Really?? Because, wow, seriously, that's not the right answer. Although, I should add, in his defense, he did pull some Neosporin and a painfully small band-aid out of a drawer for me.
Needless to say, at that point I sucked it up, apologized for the inconvenience, and made my way out the door, making sure not to let it slam me in the ass. Then I went home, wounded knee, wounded pride and all. Urgh!

Now I know I'm a klutz. I know that I tend to wear shoes, that by Minnesota standards, are a bit impractical at times. What can I say? I grew up in Los Angeles, where we can get away with that kind of frivolity and call it class. As for the clumsiness - I have no excuse. To know me is to buy me Shout Wipes, and love me, hopefully. But please, as I'm hurting and bleeding on your counter, please don't insult me and then leave me to fend for myself, when I'm trying, really really trying, to be a woman here.

I just want to be something I'm not. Helpless. Coy. Flirtatious in a way that makes men want to rescue me. I'm not however, really, any of those things. Yeah, I'm confident, and strong, and capable and really want to help people who need it. Does that mean though, that in the rare times where I truly am a damsel in distress, that I deserve to get treated the same as every other day? I hope not. I want my moments. They feel good. Because, really, it does feel good to have a guy come to my rescue. Not that I know from much personal experience, but really, short of bodily injury, a girl can dream, right?


I am being sentimental today. I want to go back to China. Oddly enough, I miss Beijing. The few days I spent in this foreign place, last year, did not seem enough, and I long to explore every nook, cranny & crevice.
In my sentimentality, here are some images that are making me even more wistful. Oddly enough, they're all cityscapes, though the rolling hillsides of the country in Hailar and Hulun Beier are equally missed.
I envy those friends who get to/got to spend months there, and wish God would call me out of the pastry kitchen, into something bigger/grander. Till then, these are the images that strike me tonight.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Another Craigslist Exclusive

Ok, so how awesome would this look in my living room? Hahahah!!! I love you Craigslist!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

My Craigslist Addiction & Kate Spade Obsession

Did you know there is a Craigslist movie? I kid you not. It's called "24 Hours On Craigslist" and it is a documentary following the phenomenon that Craigslist has become. I feel like I have not been on this bandwagon long, only about two years, but seriously, that's better than some, who have just discovered the treasure trove that CL is.

Now, I owe my CL addiction to my friend Erin, who I used to work with at New Life, and who would be constantly scouring the CL site for cute shoes & purses. She'd call me over to her office & I would think I needed to notarize something or whatever and she'd just be gushing over a new pair of pumps she found. Heehee. Me? I'm into furniture right now, needing some soon, and all. So, tonight, since I can't sleep after a fun night out, I decided to do a search for "paint" and see if I could find some cheap white paint to paint the cupboards in my new kitchen.

What did I find instead? An adorable pair of ISAAC (the couture line of Isaac Mizrahi, not the Target cheapo line) of chartreuse green suede mules with a little bow, in my size. For $35. Don't worry, I didn't buy them. They're kind of impractical anyways, and not quite dark enough green for me.

Also for $35 (or around there, actually $40), I found an adorable vintagey looking bed frame, right out of the pages of Country Living. That I might consider.

And, I responded to an ad for a man looking to have artwork commissioned, as a barter. I offered him cake. I hope he will think it a tempting promise. I also found a really cute Hoosier style dining table, definitely vintage American, 1940's, but I'm not sure it's going to be what I'm looking for in the kitchen, since I want to go with a more Asian feel. Speaking of Asian, someone had a retro looking bamboo headboard, but it was a twin.

I seriously need to get rid of my twin bed and upgrade. A quest I'm hoping CL can help me with in the next month or so. I did post a Wanted ad, saying that I'm looking for a newish, full or queen size bed set, and so far I've been propositioned for sex twice. Ummm, yeah, I said I need a bed, not someone to do things in bed with. Riiiiiigght. About the only thing I do in bed (other than sleep) is blog. Quite exciting enough for me.

So anyways, I did find paint. But only in a cheap looking burgundy color, and another in Chesapeake Sunset (translate - yellow). Urgh. I just want white. Bright, crisp white. To offset the Kelly green of my kitchen walls in a way that only Kate Spade could appreciate!

Speaking of Kate Spade, so Kari and I were at Macys last night scouring the home department clearance racks (yes, now I am dragging good and patient friends along in my inane home goods quests). And I fell hard for this red & white Kate Spade china set. That is, until I saw these ones online. Green. Bamboo. Kate Spade. I digress.

Which brings me back to the question I posed to Kari last night, and that I myself stole from another Carrie (Bradshaw that is)... Why can't a single woman register for home stuff the same way an engaged woman would? I mean, am I to be punished just because I'm not getting married? What if I wanted to register for a few things that I need for my apartment, and throw myself a housewarming party, and pray that someone would show up & if they did, they'd have gotten the hint and bought me something off my registry? Why?

I mean, I know the reasons why. Ri.Dic.U.Lous. But come on, a girl can dream can't she? I mean, I would never be able to get that Kate Spade china set on my own (isn't that the accomplishment of the modern single woman? "I don't need a man to get home goods - I got this all on my own!" Blah! Call me old fashioned, but I think I like the retro "I got an engagement ring AND a Kate Spade china set out of this" deal much better!)

Ok, I'm going into a whole different state of being here, and I should get back to my CL obsession. I wish they had Kate Spade on CL. She's my new style icon and home goods hero, and if you don't believe me, read this write-up singing her Park Avenue praises. Tableware Today (why yes, I did say Tableware Today, heeheehee!) says her name is synonymous "with hip, classy, retro, and moderne all at the same time" Ummm... don't I know another wonderful blogger with a home goods fetish and a CL obsession that that could describe? Hahaha!!!! Dream!!

In the meantime, I will continue to pour over countless CL posts, a lot offering crap I don't want and you couldn't pay me to take. In search of the rare, ubiquitous retro find, or (dear God a woman can dream can't she) the miraculous name brand (Kate, do I hear a Kate?) china set in green & white bamboo, to complete my adorable, wonderful Asian/New York inspired kitchen to be. Aaahh, I'll sleep good tonight!

Friday, July 13, 2007

I'm A Handy Type Of Gal!

In the absence of a lot of the furniture that I've been using lately, I decided this week to get a bit proactive and get some furniture of my own. Especially in light of the fact that I'll be moving into a one bedroom apartment soon, and all I have to show for it is a sofa that some friends gave me a few years back and a lot of dishes & table linens and little stuff like that.

So my first project was this - a tv stand. Here are some before & afters.

It wasn't till after the thing was assembled, and I saw that the TV seemed kind of low to the ground on it, that I realized that I had mistakenly picked up the wrong box, and bought a night stand, not a TV stand. They were all in the same area on the shelf at Target, and of course, when I'm on my phone and shopping, things just don't seem to go well. Like the size 6 shorts I bought for Josiah, when I meant to get the 4's. I was on the phone at the time. To the same person, matter of fact. And yeah, Jeff, you know who you are!!!

Ok, back to the whole mess. So, for now, the TV is a little low, but I'll go back this weekend and get the TV stand. It just means another project to put together - fun!!

In the meantime, in addition to the new TV/night stand I got this week, I also got a FREE chair & ottoman. And not just any free chair & ottoman, but a really cool one at that! It's so sweet, and I'm so stoked. I've always wanted one of those overstuffed leather ones, and now I have one. It's so comfy, I've found my new favorite place to read/blog/email/loaf.
Craigslist rocks, and in case you haven't checked it out yet, I highly recommend it.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

There's A Moon Over Bourbon Street Tonight

I've never really purported that thisI was a foodie blog. I mean, I am a foodie, and I have foodie links to the left, here. But, really, I've never talked too much about things I've made or tried, or whatever.

Then today, I was talking with a friend from overseas, and she said that the whole time she was over there, she would read my blog looking for new recipes, and to see what delectable treats I was making in her absence. Wow. I didn't know I had a following. I'm grinning from ear to ear, but ashamed to admit I'm not baking or cooking much these days. I mean, I'm a single girl. I cook all day for work. I'm not going to come home and make Italian Sausage and Roasted Mushroom Risotto, like the old days. Ohhh, I miss risotto.

But, about a month and a half ago, a friend of mine had a birthday, and in good taste, what did I get him but a nice bottle of bourbon. There are few people I could get that for, and I knew he would appreciate it. Unfortunately it never made it's way to him. I got kind of upset with him about a conversation we had, and ended up opening it up myself one Sunday night. A few days later I ran to Target and got him a DVD set instead. Yeah, I suck, I know. But come on, it was a great series and I think he was never the wiser.

Anyways, now I had this open bottle of bourbon, and honestly, I'm not a big drinker at home. I don't drink alone, that is to say. If someone is here, and I'm entertaining, well, that's a different story. But alone, yeah, that reeks of desperation and singleness. Next thing you know I'll have forty cats roaming around and newspapers stacked as high as windows. Nah.

So I decided I would try to find a recipe to use up some of it, and after scouring numerous bread pudding ones, I decided on making some truffles using it. Yumm! So, in honor of my friends, both overseas and bourbon deprived, here is the recipe I used. I named them Moon Over Bourbon Street Truffles, since that was one of my favorite songs in high school. The recipe worked great for me, was pretty easy, and I'm sure anyone with bourbon sitting around begging to be used will be grateful. For the rest of you, it's the perfect excuse to keep reading to past the recipe, to where I review my three favorite bourbons.

Moon Over Bourbon Street Truffles

For the filling:1/4 cup heavy cream
4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
6 oz. milk chocolate, chopped (preferably Valrohna or ScharfenBerger)
6 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped (preferably Valrohna or ScharfenBerger)
1/4 cup bourbon whiskey (I used Basil Haydens)
Dutch process cocoa powder for dusting

For the coating:

12 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped (again with the Valhrohna or ScharfenBerger)

1/3 cup finely chopped pecans

For the filling: In a heavy saucepan over medium-low heat, combine the cream and butter. Stir until the butter melts and the cream simmers. Remove from the heat. Add the milk chocolate and semisweet chocolate, and stir until just melted and very smooth. Remember that the mixture will cool as you stir it, so it might help to let it sit for a minute or so before stirring, to give the chocolate time to melt. melted and smooth. Mix in the whiskey, then pour into a glass bowl. Cover and refrigerate until firm enough to mound in a spoon, about one hour.

Line the bottom of a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using a melon baler or a teensy tiny ice cream scoop, scoop out the filling into round mounds and drop onto the sheet, spacing them evenly. Cover and freeze until almost firm but still pliable, about 30 minutes.

Spread the cocoa on a flat plate. Roll each chocolate mound between your palms into a smooth ball, not letting it get too warm, then roll it in the cocoa to coat evenly. Return the truffles to the sheet and freeze them while preparing the coating.

For the coating: Line a second baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the semisweet chocolate in the top pan of a double boiler or in a heatproof bowl. Place over but not touching the barely simmering water in the lower pan. Heat, stirring frequently, until melted and smooth. Remove from the heat.

Remove the truffles from the freezer and dust any loose cocoa. Using a fork, gently drop 1 truffle ball into the chocolate, tilting the pan if necessary to coat the ball completely. Slip the fork under the truffle, lift it from the chocolate, and tap the fork gently against the side of the pan to allow any excess chocolate to drip off. Gently slide the truffle off the fork onto the prepared baking sheet. Immediately sprinkle generously with the pecans. Repeat with the remaining truffles.

Refrigerate, uncovered, until firm, about 1 hour. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks. Makes about 18 truffles.

So, now how does one even begin to decide what kind of bourbon to get? Let me make it easy for you! There are three bourbons that I can wholeheartedly recommend, and they span the scale from light, flowery & sweet to "whew, I don't remember a thing from last night". So, really it all depends on your preference and taste.

The first one is Makers Mark, which, of the three I like, is the lightest. Maker's Mark was the bourbon that turned me into a bourbon drinker. It is very well rounded and easy to drink with a light tawny, amber color, and an exotic fruit entry. It is lush, not too terribly deep and malty and known particularly for it's smoothness. I think this is because, unlike other whiskey, there is no rye in it. This makes it much easier to drink, and is a good jumping point into the lovely world of bourbons.

The second one I recommend, is Knob Creek. Knob Creek is what I would call an all around great, general purpose whiskey. It is 100 proof, so you're definitely going to catch the feel of the alcohol going down, but really, isn't that part of the fun? Unlike Makers Mark, Knob Creek is rich, dark, and dense, with a full mouth feel. It is a medium amber color with some fruitiness to balance it's spicy vanilla & nutmeg notes. Someone once told me that Knob Creek has a soft entry and a long finish, but that same person also mentioned that they thought it sometimes had a hint of a Wild Turkey-ish kick, which in my opinion would not be pleasant. But I have never experienced it, and I say all in all it's a wonderful middle of the road whiskey bourbon.

The last bourbon is Bookers. Now, Bookers is an uncut bourbon, which means it goes straight from the barrel to the bottle. So, if Makers Mark is mild and smooth, and Knob Creek is full and rich, then Bookers, well Bookers is a kick in the pants with a leather boot! But as much as Bookers will put hair on your chest, it never compromises it's smoothness or drinkability. It has a deep, tawny amber color with deep hints of vanilla, caramel & smoky oak. It definitely lingers on the tongue, and all the way down, making it not for the faint of heart (well that and the fact that it's 125 proof), but if you're up for a bourbon that balances well against a good steak and cigar, this is your baby!

Did I mention that all three of these are made by Jim Beam distilleries in Kentucky. Really, if you're not going to get your bourbon from Kentucky, why bother at all?

So, that's it for my foodie post. I feel like I have been truer to my passion for for sweets & liquor than to any reputation I have as a culinary guru. Maybe that's because (and yes, I really am going to say this, cliche as it is!), much like my taste in guys, my taste in food tends to gravitate more towards sweet, smooth, strong & all American. Wow. I really did say that. Hahahahah!!!!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Selfish Baby With Strong Opinions Seeks Patient Deer!

Hehehe. I don't know what made me come up with such a random title, except that today, there are three things on my mind.

What I want.
What I like.
What I want some more.

Oh, yeah, you could say I'm being a big, selfish, baby! I'm never really like this, you know, really wanting things, or thinking on them.

But for some reason today, I keep thinking that I'd really like to get the BBC series Planet Earth on dvd. It's so cool, and I've been enjoying it so much on Netflix, that I would like to own it. Leah and I watched the second disc Sunday night, and we both were cracking up at the stunning, black feathered, male Bird of Paradise and his failed attempts to attract a mate. He put new meaning into guys just trying too hard. Everytime I watch this breathtaking series, however, I'm surprised at the wonders of creation and always catch something new and enchanting. I wholeheartedly recommend it!

What do I like? Right now, I'm in a quite musical mood. Tonight I've listened to everything from Etta James (can you picture me lip syncing with passionate face & hand gestures to "At Last"), to Sublime, to Gladys Knight & the Pips (not the Pimps, hehe), to Paolo Nuttini, to Martin Sexton (that's nothing new, I listen to him all the time, I'm in love with his voice and can't wait to see him at First Ave in September!!)

And while listening to him puts me in a melancholy mood, it also makes me think of something else that I want, and have wanted for the longest time now. But again, I'm a big, selfish baby, and have no right to ask for what is God's alone. URGH! Easier to get a dvd series huh?

Well, if not the other thing, then furniture, right? I got a great trade off tonight.... someone from Craigslist is going to give me their adorable red & white Hom Furniture sofa, and an overstuffed leather chair (in tan/camel), with ottoman, delivered for free, in exchange for a birthday cake from the bakery. Ok, who scored???

Why do I need furniture, you may be wondering? Well, God willing I will be moving into a great one bedroom apartment in about a month. Right now it needs a ton of cleaning, and some painting and some small repairs. So that will be my new project for the next few weeks, and I am so stoked about it. If there is anything I really do look forward to, it's home repair & renovation projects, and this can be just the start I'm craving.

The only challenge will be getting all this free stuff up the stairs....any volunteers to help??

Monday, July 09, 2007

A Secret Garden

There are so many songs about love, and one I was listening to this morning asked the question "How can you mend a broken heart?". Thank you Al Green, you're awesome. But in all these songs, no one ever sings about guarding your heart. Why is that? Maybe because it's such a vague concept. Maybe it's because no one who is going to write a song about love sees any use in guarding against it. Yet, it is a concept that has plagued me all weekend, well hell, most of the week long.

How do you guard your heart against love? Some would ask, why would you want to in the first place? Well, my personal answer to that is exactly that, personal. But let's just say, hypothetically speaking, if a certain someone where to stay sane amidst a friendship with someone they dearly loved, they better guard! Guard, guard, guard!! Like Shaq, I better guard!

In Song of Songs, the young woman known as Beloved charges her companions "Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you by the gazelles and by the does of the field: Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires." (Song of Songs 2:7) Three times, this pursued, adored woman warns her friends to guard their heart until the time is right. Just why, oh why, does she never say how?

So, I'm convinced of the necessity, I am willing to do what it takes, what's the problem then? Well, this weekend I found out that all I thought I knew about how to guard against my own heart was dead wrong. I realized that all the old tricks that I thought helped me do it flat out failed. Yeah, they don't work so much anymore. Maybe it's not the old tricks that don't work so much as I'm just no good at them. I think I need a lesson from the Solomon's girl!
Part of guarding one's heart, I think, is to keep it behind a wall. A secret garden as it were. Then only the one God wants to let in, will ever get to experience or see or know what's really there. I want to be guarded, and mysterious, and so compartmentalized with love that I can put it in it's place, waiting only to be opened when it's the right time.
I try and have tried hard. Despite my best efforts, I think I have failed miserably, because at the end of the day, I am awash with feelings I've tried to stifle and scourge. When all is said and done, I feel like a labyrinth of rose bushes, a garden begging to be walked through, where the scent of flowers lingers on the air for anyone with a mile to get a faint whiff of. So open and honest about my feelings, I feel like everyone around knows what's in the garden, what's in my heart. It's an aroma I can't hide, I have no poker face after all. And if I can't hide it, you better believe there's not a lot of hope in guarding against it.

Now to give myself some credit, I'm a lot better at this than I used to be. I know I have learned to keep a pretty straight face and hide most of my emotion, and that seems to help. Unfortunately, sometimes I make the enthusiastic leap to the opposite side of the spectrum, where I feign hostility and annoyance in an attempt to hide the love and adoration I feel. Not the smartest move, but most of the time I think I keep a pretty neutral facade. These tricks and ploys do nothing for my actual heart however. Though they may hide what's going on in it to the outside world, inside my heart is still asking "how? huh?"

Contemplating the warnings of the Beloved do give me some insight, though. You see, when I read her warnings, I realized that everything preceding them was an admission of her own powerlessness to the love she felt for her partner. It was time spent with him, and dwelling on his virtues, it was the thought that she had lost him, and then the joy she felt at finding him again, then finally it was just being in his presence and experiencing love with him that led her, each and every time to warn her friends to guard their hearts. It's not indifference that shows us the need to guard against love at an improper time, it's the actual love itself. If we have never felt love so deeply, then why would we see the need to guard against it?

The maiden's words are beautiful actually. "Strengthen me with raisins, refresh me with apples, for I am faint with love." (2:5) She truly felt the impact of her own emotions, to the point where it weakened her physically. Wow! In wisdom though, she saw, in that powerlessness, the necessity for only letting it occur at the God appointed moment. Her reaction to that realization was one of philanthropic and sisterly love, a warning to her sisters, not just to be on the defense against their feelings, but to take the offense and not stir the rousing beast.

What I learn from her, and her words is this. If you don't want to feel it, then don't put yourself in situations where you will have opportunity to know it. That's the offense, and that, I think, is where I screwed up. I have tried, and had some God given success, in this area, thanks a little bit to an adage I like to call "Out of sight, out of mind". But what happens when in sight becomes in mind and that turns to in love? What then?

Well, honestly, I really do wish I knew. I'm not much wiser than any of the song writers, or poets, despite the warnings I've just read. All I can say is it's an ongoing battle, and a tough one at that. But I am grateful there are verses like those in Song of Songs, to inspire me. I am grateful for the power of the Holy Spirit to coax and fill me. And I am grateful that it is not something I have to deal with every day, just on the occasional weekend and holiday and what not.

Most of all, though, I know this - I am grateful to have the capacity to love, and for the lessons it affords me in patience, perseverance and trust. I can't offer any better advice than anyone else, but I can say this - guarding your heart is a lesson worth learning and worth living out. And like a fragrant flower, love it is something best left to open and bloom naturally in God's time, any sooner and it will lack the sweet aroma of perfect timing. Just as another favorite poet once mused, love found in a place earned is like a secret garden where, if you're lucky, "She'll look at you and smile, and her eyes will say, she's got a secret garden, where everything you want, where everything you need, will always stay, a million miles away."

Friday, July 06, 2007

The Dumps

Tonight, I had dinner with an old flame. The kind of dinner, that if we had still been together, would have been entirely lovely & date worthy. We went to this little Mexican restaurant in St. Paul where the margaritas were strong, the Mexican folk music was live and the salsa was muy caliente.

Too bad our friendship isn't so muy caliente anymore. We talked, and one of the most delightful subjects of the evening was his reluctance to drop the question of why we weren't getting back together.

Just a disclaimer, he dumped me the first time and I dumped him the second time. It turns out I wasn't "cool" enough for him or his friends, thus dump #1. And when it was my turn, he just didn't make me enough of a priority/make enough time for me, and I didn't think we were spiritually compatible. Thus dump #2.

I don't mind that we talked about it, if things were a little bit different between us, like, if I wasn't pissed that he dumped me in the first place. It is hard to hear that someone doesn't want me, because that just makes me want them more. Yes, I'm so that girl. The stubborn one!

And it so doesn't matter that I know, deep down, that he is not the guy for me, and therefore I have no business dating him. It doesn't matter that I told him I don't think we should date or see each other. The fact that he reminded me that at one point in time I wasn't "hip" enough for him just grates on my nerves for the sole reason that it makes me want something that I can't have. I don't even want the thing that I can't have, but the fact that I can't have it makes me want it anyway. Does that make sense? At all??

So, even though I know I shouldn't date him, and I don't want to, because he never treated me like I was important to him, and in the end, I would have been leading us spiritually, tonight I left dinner longing to get back together with him. Was it the attention of a decent guy & a dinner out on Friday night? Or was it being with someone, who at one time, I thought was pretty "hip" himself (something that initially attracted me to him)? Or was it the challenge of trying to prove to him that, yes, I was cool enough/smart enough/interesting enough to be worthy of his stupid pop-culture obsessed friends?

I may not read Chuck Palahniuk & listen to 70's soul music all day long, as I sit discussing existentialism in cinema in some obscure coffee shop, but at least I'm not some Full House quoting ex-cheerleader who drives a freakin' Mini or a Jetta. Urgh.

Why do I even care what this guy thinks? Why do I care what any guys think? Why am I so stubborn? Why do I ask so many questions? Does that make me a thinker? Does that make me interesting? Does that mean we can get back together? Haha, just kidding. Not on your life buddy!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Los Choques y Magulla (The Bumps & Bruises)

So, who had the funnest 4th of July yesterday? Oh yeah, that's me. With a 30.5 mile bike ride, lots of family time, Hand & Foot, ice cream, fireworks, Pride & Predjudice, it was so fun! I got to spend the day with Johnsons, whom I love so much, and not just the day, but Tuesday night too. The girls and I stayed up late watching the BBC's Planet Earth series, disc two. I am blessed beyond what I could ask for.

Yep, I have no complaints, but this: This gigantic goose eggs & bruises I have on my bottom from our bike ride. Yes, I rode so hard yesterday, I actually bruised my poor bottom. It's quite hilarious, really, yes, I am laughing. But, seriously, the pain is quite intense, and enough to wake me up in the middle of the night last night, thinking I had golf balls on my bottom. Heheh. Ok, probably TMI.

So, on to other news. I found a great new podcast, that is teaching me Spanish. I am so excited, and have learned five new words today. Paisa, which means clown, and Papi de Azucar, which means Sugar Daddy, Phenomenal and Estupendo, which mean "pretty freakin' great" when someone asks how you're doing. And Fatal, which means "not so hot, I've got goose eggs and bruises on my bottom" when someone asks you how you're feeling. Of course, I know that when read, those last three look like Phenomenal, Stupendous and Fatal. And of course, they just happen to be spelled that way in Spanish too (with the exception of Estupendo). But, trust me with the accent, when I repeat them back, they sound just like Spanish.

Now you want to hear funny? The podcast is actually narrated by some Scottish people. Yep, they're from Scotland, and basically it sounds like Mike Myer's dad in So I Married An Axe Murderer teaching me Spanish. "Cabesa, mueva la cabesa grande!" ("Head, move your big head! I'm not kidding, that boy's head is like Sputnik!") Heehee, I digress. Anyways, when I say the words, they sound pretty authentic, but when the podcast folks say it, it's kind of hilarious, because it's all with the neatest little Scottish accent. I love cultural diversity!

So, this is all that's new in the life of me. Pretty unexciting. Spanish, a bike ride, a great family filled 4th, and some soreness. Just a tad! More later, but for now "Tenga la semana agradable", or have a nice week!

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Oh The Joy!

I love my "family"! I mean, they're not really my family, since we're not blood related, but they might as well be for as much as I love them & feel loved and accepted by them.

I met my "family" three years ago this Thanksgiving, when a dear friend, who I miss a lot, brought me home for Thanksgiving dinner. At the time I thought it meant he liked me, but I know now, well, I think he was just taking pity on me, since I don't have any family in the Twin Cities, or in Minnesota for that fact. Whatever the case, I met them then, and have loved them dearly ever since.

Today I got to spend amazing quality time with them, and in the past year or so, that has become one of the things I thank God for most in my life. The time I spend with them is always pleasant, wholesome and upbuilding. Yeah, sometimes we get a little tired, or grumpy, and things aren't always perfect. But like I said, I feel more loved and accepted by this group of people than I ever have by anyone in my life.

I don't know what the point of this post is about, except that as I try to unwind and go to sleep tonight, I am so blessed by having spent last night and all day today with my "family". I love them, and want to tell anyone who'll listen. So there it is. I'm happy! Good night.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

"Of Minor Prophets & The Prostitute Wives"

“To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:

These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God's creation. I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm–neither hot nor cold–I am about to spit you out of my mouth.

You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.

Revelation 3:14-22

"I will heal their waywardness and love them freely, for my anger has turned away from them. I will be like the dew to Israel, he will blossom like a lily." Hosea 14:4

I am blown away by God's mercy and grace towards me today. His amazing love, and patience are of infinite scope and I cannot even begin to glimpse them knowingly. Yet, I will be totally honest here, I am frustrated with myself, because I want Him so much more.

I realized, today, in church, that I am discontent with where I am at. I am so lukewarm, and like Jesus Himself said in Revelation, I would rather be hot or cold, but I want to spit this lukewarmness out like tepid well water from my mouth. It hit me today, a slight epiphany (I wish it was much more life shaking), I am sick of my spiritual state. Literally, sick, disgusted by myself. Ok, now don't get me wrong, I'm not being overly hard on myself, in a fit of self-depreciation. I just had a wake up call from God. If I am feeling this way about where I'm at with Him, what must my God be thinking?

I have a friend, one I miss a lot, but whatever. He has a saying - when things get pretty bad, and you think it couldn't get much worse, and you look at your life and it sucks, well, at least you didn't marry a prostitute. It stems from the Hosea/Gomer account in the book of Hosea, in the Minor Prophets. There is a song, by Pedro The Lion, which I love, called "Of Minor Prophets And Their Prostitute Wives", which reiterates the theme of God's patient calling back of Gomer, through Hosea, and all that it symbolizes (namely that the song is written to you & me, not necessarily Gomer). All this is to make a point, that sometimes I use this phrase, in jest, and think, well, things are bad, but at least God hasn't made me do something I never thought I could, something reprehensible like marrying a prostitute.

Today, however, I realized, I am that prostitute. I am a dirty, fallen woman. Maybe no more, or less, than some other people, even other Christians, if things were looked at quite literally. But in my heart, I know my own lukewarm attitude, my take-it-or-leave-it way of living, my faithlessness, my distrust, and my own self-dependant, self-serving attitude. I am no different than faithless Israel, who so many times would whore themselves for little things, and forsake the God that was waiting for them like a faithful, loving, patient Husband. Do I think I am any different than the people that God had to send prophet after prophet to?

I fail to remember His goodness and His provision, much less thank Him for it. They did the same. I turn to my own ways, often sinful and hurtful, to provide for my life, my needs and my wants, instead of waiting on Him to be my all in all, my supporter and provider - basically my Husband. They did the same. I forget what pleases Him and neglect to even try to bring Him glory, and instead seek whatever makes me happy, pursuing my own plans, my own little pleasures. They did the same.

How, when did I slip so far? I want my Jesus back in my life! I want my joy back, and I want to love on my Jesus so much again. I miss Him, so, so, very much. I just want my passion back!!! Lukewarm living has taken it's toll, and it was in God's grace and mercy that I even could recognize it. I know He has gone nowhere, but I have. I have turned to myself, again, in a fit of independence, instead of turning to the One who has it all in His hands. But now, I just want Him back! How faithless and fickle a woman I am. When I leave, and I fail in my stupidity, I am blinded, but then, I turn and want Him back?? Who am I to even deserve Him?

You know who I am? I am Gomer. Gomer whom He called back through the love of Hosea. I am Israel, Israel who He forgave time and again, and redeemed in an act of pure love. I am Trinette. I am the most undeserving, independant, selfish woman, and I totally am His child, who He has promised to love and to redeem. I am the one who holds this promise, as so dear to my heart:

The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness. I will build you up again and you will be rebuilt, O Virgin Israel. Again you will take up your tambourines and go out to dance with the joyful ...

...“Hear the word of the Lord, O nations; proclaim it in distant coastlands:’ He who scattered Israel will gather them and will watch over hiss flock like a shepherd.’ For the Lord will ransom Jacob and redeem them from thee hand of those stronger than they. They will come and shout for joy on the heights of Zion; they will rejoice in the bounty of the Lord—the grain, the new wine and the oil, the young of the flocks and herds. They will be like a well-watered garden, and they will sorrow no more.

Then maidens will dance and be glad, young men and old as well. I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow. I will satisfy the priests with abundance, and my people will be filled with my bounty,

Jeremiah 31:3-14

And like the song goes "But your still playing for a love you'll never find outside of these arms of mine. The whole town is one step behind you, with the hang man on call. They've got the judge and you're convicted without a plea. Darling, they will listen to me. So, come home, darling, come home quickly, come home, darling, all is forgiven, so come home quickly." I know that I can go home, I can run home, quickly, like a child into His open arms, His waiting arms. It is in those arms alone that I will find the love that I desire, and that sparks my heart to trust Him alone and to live passionately for Him. The thought of that kind of love brings me to tears tonight, because I cannot fathom it, I cannot replicate it, I can only embrace and accept it. And tonight, I am blessed to go to sleep knowing that I am loved, and redeemed and guarded in His big, strong, infinite hands. I may be a prostitute (aren't we all?), but I am loved. Just like Gomer. Just like me.

How They Roll At The Midtown Global Market

So, how do they roll at the Midtown Global Market, exactly? Why, with their hips of course.

I just love my "cultured friends", not all of which are pictured here. Those people with a heart and a passion for a culture other than our homogenized, cookie-cutter American ways. Those people who when it's suggested that we go to the Midtown Global Market, don't go "where?". Don't worry, I love all my friends, but there is something so refreshing about being around people who can embrace other cultures with verve and excitement.

So, that's where we ended up for lunch today, the MGM, and in addition to lunch, we were treated to the Bike Festival and Salsa Dancing with Renee!! Every Sunday this vivacious Cubano is there teaching dancing to the Minnesota masses, but this was the first Sunday I ever got up and danced. Of course, I managed to only get in the conga line, but all it took was one other person brave enough to encourage me, and boom, we were off skirt twirling and hip rolling.

K, on the other hand, well, we couldn't get her to sit down and eat her lunch. Her excitement brought me great joy! I hope to go back soon, and now know that there is someone else willing to shrug off their inhibitions and bailar, bailar, bailar (that means dance, for all you non-Spanish speakers out there)!